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NEW YORK – News International , the U.K. newspaper unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., is close to reaching settlements of at least 10 lawsuits brought by public figures tied to phone hacking charges, Bloomberg News reported.
The settlements with politicians and others, including celebrity lawyer Graham Shear and Labour Party lawmaker Chris Bryant, are expected to be finalized before the first civil trial in the phone hacking saga starts next month, it said citing a document it obtained. Their voice mails were hacked to get stories for News Corp.’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, it said.
A three-week trial is scheduled to start Feb. 13 in London, according to Bloomberg. Jude Law and sports agent Sky Andrew aren’t among those close to settling though, Bloomberg said citing the document, which shows the status of the test cases.
Bloomberg said that victims looking to go to trial could be discouraged following settlements. It cited a U.K. law that could force them to pay News International’s court costs if they decline a settlement offer and then fail to win a higher amount in a verdict.
Bloomberg said a spokeswoman for News International declined to comment. A New York-based spokeswoman for News Corp. also declined to comment.
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